Public Observation #2022-671

Submitted:
March 7, 2022 5:52 AM
Observation Date:
March 6, 2022
Zone or Region:
Central Cascades
Activity:
Skiing/Snowboarding
Location:
Broken Hand
Did you trigger any avalanches? 
Yes
Was it intentional? 
No
Avalanche Type:
Hard Slab
Size:
D1: Relatively harmless to people
Elevation:
Aspect:
S
Comments:
I triggered a wind slab avalanche while boot packing up a small south face around 8000 feet. The crown ranged from about 3-7 inches and I appear to have triggered it from a thin part of the slab. The slab broke about 60 feet across and 100 feet down, and I slid on the slab debris about 80 feet. It never gained enough momentum for the debris pile to stack up on itself as the runout was only about 25-30 degrees of steepness with no terrain trap. The risk of burial in that terrain was small and I was neither buried or injured. In steeper or exposed terrain it would have been a much different story.
Did you see shooting cracks? 
Yes
Did you experience collapsing or whumpfing? 
No
I rode a couple small South and Southwest facing slopes holding soft, wind transported snow around 8000'. On the SW face, nearly all the recent soft snow (about 4 inches deep) cracked and sloughed off of the crust layer below. On the south face I triggered a wind slab avalanche while bootpacking and slid about 80 feet down the hill. I also found many natural slides and patches where the new snow had slid off the crust layer at nearly all aspects, though only the southern aspects were wind loaded. The new snow is very poorly bonded to the crust layer.